Guarding Machu Picchu

Article/Op-Ed in Slate
Aug. 24, 2015

Founded in 2013 by Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, the former deputy minister of cultural heritage and cultural industries, Peru’s drone archaeology team has quickly become one of the most active in the world, working to accurately survey and preserve the South American nation’s thousands of valuable archaeological sites. At the beginning, team members had no special engineering expertise or any prior experience with unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. But in just two years, they have become an authority on this specific area of drone mapping, with archaeologists and drone pilots from around the world now reaching out to them for advice. “Anybody can do the work we do. Anybody can work with the drones, anybody can work with the software, anybody can produce the stuff we are producing,” Castillo explains. “We are simply doing it on a scale that is actually having a real impact on cultural patrimony.”